I took a trip to Nepal solely to gather sound material. For three months I wandered around the Kathmandu valley and Pokhara, collecting the sounds of the streets, animals, monasteries, children and rituals. Listening to the tapes after coming home creates a very powerful situation for writing music. Sounds with good rhythmic or harmonic content suggest a working basis for a composition, strange sonic events might have the feeling of a beginning or ending, but most of all, the memories and nostalgia that come up create a good emotional springboard to start the process.
1.Letter to Sharpstein
For a while I stayed in Boudhanath at the Lnow Lion Inn next to a huge stups ringed by Tibetan monasteries. Every morning at 4 they would start their rituals and I would lay in bed and listen.
During the time of the Nepali New Year there is a festival called Desai. The Hindus sacrifice thousands of chickens, goats and water buffalos for the good of the valley, their families and the world in general. The Buddhists disapprove of the carnage and send their monasteries into round the clock overdrive to undo the work of the Hindus. Children travel in packs singing a New Year’s song. Dogs howl at everything.
A osng I heard at the Yak and Yeti hotel.
4.End of Movie
The cremation of the eleventh Trungpa Tulku.
Steve Tibbetts was born in Madison, Wisconsin in 1954. He graduated in 1976 from Macalester College with a degree in fine art. Five albums of his music have been released, four on the German ECM label.
2.Three days in the arrowhead
This three movement work evokes some of my impressions of the natural world and my own personal relationship to it. The work also strongly implies for me a sense of motion. There are very specific images in my mind which I associate with the various movements, but I would rather try to encourage personal interpretation by remaining vague and letting people come up with their own images. The important thing for me is that the listener feel something.
Mike Olsen b.1958 is a Minneapolis native who received his formal music training at the University of Minnesota. Currently his work is focussed primarily on the composition and performance of interdisciplinary works which employ electronic music. In addition to his classical background he has also worked with numerous rock and jazz bands in the Midwest and on the West Coast. For the past few years, he has made his living by composing and producing music for the broadcast advertising and industrial films.
3.Sinfony was composed specifically for this recording during a 1986-87 McKnight Fellowship. Given the electric instrumentation (electric guitar, bass, synthesizer, samplet, drum machines), I wanted to work the sound “symphonic” with richness and depth. To accomplish this, I used dense layering in some parts of the piece plus samples of a reconstruction from a Mozart Cassation in D major. The composition is in four connected movements, the second beginning after the text is heard a second time, the third when the drum machine ostinato begin, and the fourth when the Mozart is clearly heard. The text is from Shakespeare’s As You Like It “It was a lover and his lass” . I chose it because of the line, “And therefore take the present time, with a hey and a ho and a hey nonino.” The text is present in each movement.
Sinforn began with the notion of juxtaposed opposites: drum machines with Shakespeare, Mozart with hose samples, etc. and then developed along these lines. But the overall theme, I think, is a reflection of contemporary thought.
Henry Gwiazda was born in 1952 in New Britain, Connecticut. He received degrees from the Eastman School of Music, Hartt College of Music, and the College-Conservatory of Music of the University of Cincinnati. He is currently performing his own music as Electric Hands and he has recorded for CCG and CRI records. Gwiazda is Associate Professor of Music at Moorhead State University where he teaches composition and theory.
4.Stop Thinking Or Get Out Of The Way was premiered by the John Devine Saxophone Quartet in 1978 and has since become one of the most popular pieces in the Quartet’s repertoire. The title refers to a nasty habit on the part of some humans to stop dead in their tracks in the middle of highly congested areas (in cars or on foot) in order to “think great thoughts” or ponder who knows what. It also concerns what I consider to be a general trend in the evolution of the species, away from so-called rational thought.
John Devine b.1953, Chicago has been active in the Twin Cities as musician and composer since returning from Arizona in 1980. While in Arizona, Devine studied composition and performance at Scottsdale College and Arizona State University in Tempe. The majority of his compositions involve specific ensembles of which he is a member. These include the John Devine Saxophone Quartet, IMP ORK ( a 25-piece improvising orchestra), 64K, Don’t Look, and the NMP Wind Nonet. He has also worked extensively with dance, theater and performance art. One the weekends John can be found playing rhythm and blues with The Checkers in ST. Paul, MN.
The John Devine Saxophone Quartet performs regularly in the Twin Cities, focussing primarily on the jazz and improvisational works of its members.
5. Out Of Touch/Albert is a four part suite which both supports and is welded together by improvisational activity. The four sections consist of one time cluster “launching pad” and three “songs”, the last of which is dedicated to the late tenor saxophonist, Alber Ayler. The complete freedom of pitch and rhythm that exist at the outset of the piece is replaced by an increasingly restricted tonal palette; y the last section the players are essentially limited to a D major scale.
The Success of this sort of piece depends both upon ample rehearsal time and compatible personalities. I’ve enjoyed the luxury of working with a standing ensemble for a number of years and I certainly owe a debt of gratitude to the musicians who participated with me on this project for their excellent work.
Pat Moriarty was born in Minneapolis, MN in 1953. His graphic notation scores have been exhibited at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis and at the 1984 New Music America Festival in Hartford, CT. Active as a jazz musician, he currently performs with the Pat Moriarty Ensemble, the Phil Hey/Pat Moriarty Quartet, Sound Exploration Ensemble, and the Cedar Avenue Big Band.
The Pat Moriarty Ensemble is an improvising group assembled in part to explore the challenges of an unorthodox instrumentation: three winds and piano. Organized in 1981, the ensemble has since that time performed throughout Minnesota and at Roulette Artspace in New York City.